Vaporware no more! The Fisker Karma is finally, truly on-sale. The Karma is the first vehicle from the Fisker brand, arriving as a coupe-like four-door sedan boasting a range-extending gas engine and an electric motor in a configuration not unlike that found in the Chevrolet Volt.
Karma was officially awarded a 52 MPGe rating from the EPA, falling short of projections. When driving the vehicle beyond stored electricity levels, the Karma's 2.0-liter General Motors-sourced Ecotec engine (acting as a generator) returns just 20 miles per gallon. Should the Karma come with a full charge, however, expect to travel 32 miles without using a single drop of gas, according to the EPA.
Q-Drive is the heart of the Karma, a plug-in hybrid powertrain that uses a 20 kW/h lithium ion battery with Nanophosphate technology paired with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with direct injection and turbocharging, which powers a 175kW generator.
The net result is a very respectable 403 horsepower coupled with a jaw dropping 951 lb-ft of torque - available at zero rpms! This translates to a zero-to-60 time of 7.9 seconds and a 95 mile per hour top speed - in electric-only "Stealth Mode."
Not impressed? Don't worry, Sport Mode can be activated and the Ecotec kicks in to boost performance, recording a zero-to-60 sprint in 5.9 seconds and bumping the top speed to 125 mph. This unprecedented level of driver control enables conversation of either electricity or gasoline, depending on driver needs and preferences.
Recharging the battery can be done with either 110-, 220- or 240-volt plugs, taking as little as six hours to provide 32 miles of pure-electric range.
Other advanced technology employed by the Karma includes the world's largest spherically curved, monolithic solar panel integrated into its roof - an industry first and a standard feature on all Karma sedans. Fisker says the panel will allow for up to five additional electric-only miles of driving per week.
Inside, the Karma is filled with natural and recyclable materials that continue the thorough "eco" approach to the car's design. There are multiple trim levels that will determine the types of materials used, including the EcoChic trim level which uses an advanced sustainable animal-free approach that replaces leather with a high-grade textile and EcoPremium Suede trim. Certified Rescued Wood trim is sourced from Walnut Burl and Red Elm trees reclaimed from forest fires in the hills of southern California - providing both beauty and form in an environmentally conscious manner.
Information is displayed on one of several LCD screens, used both to replace traditional gauges and with a 10.2-inch Fisker Command Center, located in the center console. This command center controls climate, audio, navigation, telephone, as well as other various vehicle systems. Inputs into the center are met with instantaneous tactile feedback that enables drivers to confirm their commands without looking away from the road.
The Karma's styling is modestly tweaked from the concept car the automaker first showed the world, and the interior is considerably better finished. Every surface is covered in hides with a rubbery finish - good for cornering, bad for entry/exit. Fisker showed the Karma with two sets of golf clubs in the trunk, further illustrating its no-compromise intent.
The Karma features speakers both inside and out that simulate a sound "like something between a Formula One car and a jet plane." The feature is being implemented for pedestrian safety and added novelty.
As the Karma is currently the only full-size plug-in luxury sedan on the market, it doesn't have any true rivals. However, environmentally-conscious buyers in search of a large premium sedan can also consider the BMW ActiveHybrid 7, Lexus LS 600h L and the Mercedes-Benz S400 Hybrid, though none are as green as the Karma.